The federal government is making loan money available to small businesses and nonprofits in Aroostook, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset and Washington counties, which saw financial losses due to the drought that began May 1.
This follows a disaster declaration issued by the U.S. Agriculture Secretary. U.S. Small Business Administration spokesperson Kathy Cook says that when farmers and ranchers experience a disaster such as a drought, other businesses in the same area also suffer, as farmers can't renew equipment leases, purchase new implements, or pay for feed or fertilizer.
“The farm family doesn't go to the grocery store as often, go out to dinner,” Cook says. “All of these things in agricultural communities tie together.”
Loans can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 3.61 percent for small businesses with terms up to 30 years. The application deadline is May 28th, 2019.